The American Bankers Association has prepared a compendium of essays- written by 12 regulators, bankers, and academics-on privacy in electronic commerce.

P. Michael Nugent, general counsel for technology at Citicorp, writes that new privacy laws will not be required if banks and other companies disclose how they will use customer data.

Robert S. Litt, deputy assistant Attorney General, writes that electronic payment systems are going to have to provide a way for law enforcement to gain access to billing records. "Crimes will often have to be traced electronically," he warns.

Also, Sarah Jane Hughes, associate professor at Indiana University School of Law, advocates adoption of specific rules to protect consumer records stored electronically.

For a copy of "Privacy in Electronic Commerce," call 202-663-5469.

Black borrowers do not pose a bigger risk of default or prepayment than their white peers, according to Ralphael W. Bostic, an economist at the Federal Reserve Board.

Mr. Bostic finds that blacks are no more likely than whites to suffer short-term disruptions to their earnings, such as losing a job. Past studies have concluded that whites are less likely to suffer economic shocks.

"Such countervailing information can be important for changing risk assessment and credit allocation policies by lenders," he writes. "Such changes could result in an expansion of mortgage credit afforded minorities."

The news is not all good. He finds blacks are slightly more likely to suffer long-term income losses than whites. But he said these results were limited to 1982 and 1983, a period during which other studies have found that blacks suffered more than others economically.

For a copy of "Racial Differences in Short-Run Earnings Stability and Implications for Credit Markets," call 202-452-3000 or visit

Congress should repeal the Home Mortgage Disclosure and Community Reinvestment acts because the laws do little to increase lending to minority consumers, writes George J. Bentson, professor at Emory University's Toizuetz Business School.

Mr. Bentson said existing anti-discrimination laws already ensure that banks extend credit to everyone in the community. Also, he noted that very few of the 14,000 depository institutions in the country has ever been charged with lending bias.

"The rationale for enacting the HMDA and the CRA are not valid today and probably were not valid when these laws were enacted," he writes in the Autumn issue of The Journal of Retail Banking Services.

For a copy of "Discrimination in Mortgage Lending: Why HMDA and CRA Should Be Repealed," call 404-727-7831 or E-mail george_bentson

Price stability is the best strategy for achieving high, long-term growth, writes Robert E. Keleher, chief macroeconomist at Congress's Joint Economic Committee.

Price stability results in lower interest rates and cheaper credit. This causes businesses to invest more in capital projects, which increases efficiency and boosts economic growth.

Mr. Keleher also dismisses criticism that price stability is impossible because policymakers are unable to accurately measure the inflation rate. Adjustments to the consumer price index to make it more accurate would solve this problem, he said.

For a copy of "A Response to Criticism of Price Stability," call 202- 225-5171 or visit American Banker, Copyright c 1997 American Banker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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